From round gate to a Sanwa in VST


Let put this straight: I was never any god in SF2, but I could hold my own against people who were not in complete control of their distances and strategies. People who were just overall better players. But now, I lose to pretty much every person I play against, online. Knowledge, reactions and strategy aside, that is due to my current execution with my controller. I don’t need better skills to play (say) Metal Slug or ordinary games, but in ST, more than any other game, I have issues. There is no df, df+P and still a SRK to save my ass, like in SF4. What follows is my sad story. Tell me to fuck off and skip to the last part of the message if you don’t wanna hear it.

I have always played with bat top round gate sticks, and would still do at least 2 times a week at the local arcade till last year. It was fine and still is, at least considering they are a low quality copy of Happ’s super joystick, not the real one. They have a softer spring, tough, which gives it a different feel, but not that much. As few people would play SF2 (CE or ST) I started playing at home with a crappy Genius pad, which eventually broke, then I got another one and it has broken again. As I have side issues with D-pads (slow SRK from the right side) I took it as an opportunity to buy a home arcade stick and get a feel that’s closer to the arcade.

A friend of mine, to whom I was teaching classic SF2 and was interested in getting better, was willing to learn a stick, so I ordered two home-made sticks from some internet vendor. They have arrived and we have soon realized the sticks on them were of horrible quality: no-one who was used to arcade sticks could obtain moves with any consistency on them. As they were kind of tall, not too heavy and we could not attach them to something so they would not move, it also shook as we played, possibly screwing our execution even more. As I had read around here that some Japanese parts would require less strength to operate due to softer springs, I decided to try them out. Ours sucked, anyway: they needed a replacement no matter what. I would hold the box hard with my thighs to try and make it easier to play, but it hurt a bit and after around 40 minutes my leg would go numb due to some blocked vessels.

I have then ordered Sanwas, which looked quite precise, but the square gate thing was not something trivial to adapt to. At first, we were actually worse on them, even compered to the older sticks which were pretty much broken as they were: the diagonals were so inconsistent there was nothing to do but throw them at the trash can. I could get a bit better but still had to hold the stick tight. SRKs, more than anything else, were a problem. As the stick accepts octo gates, I have ordered a couple and it seemed better already. Still, not perfect, far from it, but my walk up DPs were once again possible, which was quite an achievement, or so it looked to me.

A friend was selling a full set of original Happ buttons and a iL euro joystick. It seemed like a blessing and I bought them right away. The day it arrived I have already installed it to my stick and were confident it was the solution to all my problems and my arcade gameplay would be available at home. There was some online tournament were I was at the losers’ bracket, but with my A game I thought there was no way I could lose. Long story made short I still had bad execution and lost in straight matches, missing SRKs at important moments (and every moment is important unless you’re just trying to get bar). It did feel better after some time, but as the stick box has edges it hurts the legs if I try to hold it, and the spring is stiffer so that it can not be used on the lap.

My last new stick (a whole new stick + box, in fact) is a TE. I play it on the lap: it still moves but at least my leg does not get numb for a day after I play. However, the gate is square, it might get a bit better with the octo but I decided to leave the original one for a few weeks and see how much better I could get with it. I have also changed the way I hold baltop sticks to the one Daigo had recommended in that crappy video, just to give it chance. Awesome players like Tsuji use a different technique, but as he plays mostly Boxer, a charge character, I did not take it much into consideration. But I’m having issues. In fact, all this time changing sticks actually seem to have turned things worse than before. I’m not competitive: ST is a game that just does not give margin to it. A missed hadouken is an enemy projectile that pushes me to the corner and does chip damage, a missed SRK does not knock down and gets me comboed. Not to mention reversals.

My current issues are:[LIST]
[]SRK motion seems slower from crouching position: I often push the button too soon, or delay but get attacked before the move is released;
]hadoukens and tatsus are not consistent;
[]super is throwing a dice: half the time I miss from one side, and 75% from the other one;
]super after a blocked ball or something does not happen anymore;
[]walk-up SRK is a cr.punch or hadouken most the time;
[*]my last instant SRK is gone. Say, a guy jumped in, I am not expecting it. He is rising and I still haven’t noticed much. Then he is already falling, I notice it and react right away with a SRK. It never works anymore.
[/LIST]Finally, the worst issue. I sometimes correct a few motion problems, check why I am missing some directions, and for some time I play a bit better. Then the very next day I suck balls all over again! I just seem to default to ordinary arcade mode and miss stuff as if I hadn’t improved the day before.

Basically, I am asking for help from people who are used to circle-motion characters and have migrated from og arcade to home arcade. But in SF2, the motions must remain correct. I am sure others had similar issues and their experience may prove to be valuable to me and a number of other people who have told me they also need to improve their execution.

ST for life.

*how the hell I get a hadouken trying to finish the motion in df, shit…


I went from keyboard to learning stick (on the HRAP3) a few years ago. It takes some time (weeks to months), and the temptation to return to what you were using before is always there. But in the long run, nothing can touch arcade quality sticks for their level of precise execution.

That said, even after several years my execution on stick actually isn’t very good. I still have trouble doing clutch DP’s from a crouching position on 2P-side, for example. Still, ST is the easiest game for me because compared to other games, it doesn’t require a lot of combos or complex inputs to do well.


Thanks for the reply, man. I am really worried, cos I have definitely not spent so much money of controls to keep missing stuff at home. That’s why I decided to stop changing setups a bit to see if I get better again. I only have a single hour a day to practice.


I grew up playing on American sticks in the 90s. I’ve tried playing on Sanwas, Seimitsus, and HAPP Competition joysticks (loose click type). In the end, the only stick I could consistently uppercut on, was the one I grew up playing with…the P360 joystick. I had a buddy switch out the Competition stick in my MAS for a new HAPP P360 and its the only stick I’ll ever use.


/\ Word. whatever happened to our American sticks anyway.
I have probs with Japanese sticks, mainly dp’s and the freakin’ gate making you jump because you stick will slide along the edge of the plate to up forward when all you want is forward. It’s also awkward for me because it seems I can’t think straight while using an unfamiliar controller. I’m thinking of trying a bat top mas stick, maybe getting a te when I save up for a ps3 and or non-failing 360. Darn toastbox 360… most suicidal gaming gear this side of the cps3.